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Starting from scratch

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Dionantony's picture
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help, I`m sinking hello everyone. I've spent the past couple of hours reading some of the posts and the knowledgable answers given, so I decided to take the plunge and seek your expert advice....i hope this doesn't sound too creepy. Although I am 45 I have never owned a turntable or even a decent hi-fi system. As a kid I used to listen to cassettes on a small Philips until the cd came along and I bought a portable device. However, my guitar teacher used to play me old jazz records on his Thorens TT and I was hooked but never invested in anything myself. At university a local pothead had a nice TT set-up, but as you can imagine, we spent most of the nights listening to Pink Floyd and the actual system was of no interest.... idiot. Then came MP3's and the iPhone, but so did a disjointed and unattached approach resulting in my love affair with music coming to an end. I now want to reconnect and fall in love with the old vinyl lady,   but I have no idea where to start. What turntable? What amplifier? What speakers? Do i need a phono thingy? How the hell does it all connect up? I have read a few blogs and websites but it doesn't take them long to start using jargon that goes over my head and I get lost. Can anyone help this middle aged dunce? 

 

P.S Pink Floyd, Miles Davis and Hall & Oats on the play list. 

 

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mikeparker59's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

Where to begin indeed!

 

I began back in the early 80's before cd's came on the scene. I was somewhat disappointed by the sound coming from my old Sony TT Sony Amp and Sony speakers, and so the quest began.

 

I did lots of research in magazines in those days as there was of course no internet, and the advice then was always the same, rubbish in rubbish out. In other words you needed to get a decent source signal in the first place which meant getting a quality TT before worrying about amp and speakers, as even budget gear would sound good as long as it had a good quality signal, whereas esoteric equipment would sound bad given a poor input signal. Certainly made sense to me.

 

There were many systems recommended depending on budget but all put the turntable as the major purchase. There was always the advice to get to a good dealer for a demo, and that is what I did.

 

I ended up getting a Heybrook TT2 with Linn Basik arm and A&R cartridge, and it is still my only turntable despite being 30+ years old

and I'm still more than happy with it.

 

Anyway what I'm saying is get to a good dealer if you can, and take their advice, they'll show you how to connect up, though it ain't that difficult really.

 

As for amps I've only ever used one with a phono input on board, so have never needed a separate phono amp, a lot of amps do not have a phono input so require a separate phono pre-amp. The reason you need a phono pre-amp  is that the signal coming off the TT is so tiny compared with the output fom a CD or Tuner it needs a bit of boosting before your main amp can do anything with it.

Back in those early days for me I remember a number of turntables that were recommended.

Linn Sondek...out of my price range

Heybrook TT2  similar design to the Linn but a lot cheaper

Rega Planar 2?

Today Heybrook no longer exist, The Linn is still out of my league @ £2700 on the audioT website

Rega are still around and I believe still make  respectable TTs the RP1  on audioT site is £230 (not sure if that includes cartridge though)

 

The only real way to decide is to try to draw up a short list within your budget and  get to a good dealer and get some demos in.

PS

I've no connection with audioT other than being a satisfied customer of Audio Excellence who merged with Audio T a few years back.

 

I'm sure fellow forum users will be able to give you more specific advice on today's equipment, but for what it's worth my Heybrook is connected to a budget amp (Marantz PM6004)  and a pair of Mordaunt Short Aviano 1 speakers. I'm pretty happy with this set up though it's by no means the last word in Hi Fi but I guess at my age mid 50's my hearing is no longer Hi Fi anyway!

 

 

Happy hunting! hello or goodbye

This explains why you may need a separate phono stage better than I did

Most people don't realise that record decks will not normally work straight away with their stereo or home cinema system.

Record decks output at a much lower level than CD players, cassette decks or other audio devices. As a result, if you plug a record deck into an auxhillary input on your amplfier, you will hear a distored, quiet sound.

Back in the '80s, most amplifiers came with a 'Phono' input. This input was built with a phono stage in it - a seperate pre amplifier that boosted and cleaned the signal from the record deck so that it sounded perfect.

However, with the decline in the popularity of record decks, most amplifiers now do not come with a 'Phono' input. Instead, if you intend to use a record deck, you must buy a separate phono stage.

Simply plug your record deck into the phono stage, and then use a seperate phono lead to connect the phono stage to the auxhillary input in your ampllifier.

 

 

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Heybrook TT2 Linn Basik A&R P77 Marantz PM 6004 Marantz CD6004 Cambridge Audio NP30 Heybrook HB2's, MS Aviano 2 (alternate between these depending on how I feel!!)

A&R A60 A&R T21,Rotel CDP, Mordaunt Short Aviano 1

MajorFubar's picture
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RE: My advice, for what it's worth...

I love turntables.  And I love vinyl: I've been buying it for over 30 years and I have a lot of my dad's old records too. But vinyl and turntables are not something I'd probably invest in now if I didn't already have an existing library of records. Be absolutely sure this is what you want to do and not a whim based on rose-tinted happy memories.

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BenLaw's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

Dionantony wrote:

At university a local pothead had a nice TT set-up, but as you can imagine, we spent most of the nights listening to Pink Floyd and the actual system was of no interest.... idiot.

 

Not sure if you're saying you or (s)he was the idiot, but the usual and correct advice is that it is better to listen to, and enjoy, the music rather than the equipment. To that end, I modify another common piece of advice and suggest you buy an entry level setup and put the money saved towards your favourite vinyl and the sort of thing your friend was smoking. This is likely to lead to a great deal of musical enjoyment  Smile

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mikeparker59's picture
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RE: My advice, for what it's worth...

 

Major Fubar

Actually that's quite a good point! having re-read the OP it does look like he has no or certainly hardly any vinyl.

Still it allowed me to go on a sentimental trip back to my first demo of quality gear. Vinyl can sound much nicer than digital music though or are those my rose tinted specs too?? Quest

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Heybrook TT2 Linn Basik A&R P77 Marantz PM 6004 Marantz CD6004 Cambridge Audio NP30 Heybrook HB2's, MS Aviano 2 (alternate between these depending on how I feel!!)

A&R A60 A&R T21,Rotel CDP, Mordaunt Short Aviano 1

mikeparker59's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

[/quote]

 

I modify another common piece of advice and suggest you buy an entry level setup and put the money saved towards your favourite vinyl and the sort of thing your friend was smoking. This is likely to lead to a great deal of musical enjoyment  Smile

[/quote]

 

I like your logic beauty, eh

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Heybrook TT2 Linn Basik A&R P77 Marantz PM 6004 Marantz CD6004 Cambridge Audio NP30 Heybrook HB2's, MS Aviano 2 (alternate between these depending on how I feel!!)

A&R A60 A&R T21,Rotel CDP, Mordaunt Short Aviano 1

MajorFubar's picture
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RE: My advice, for what it's worth...

mikeparker59 wrote:

 

Major Fubar

Actually that's quite a good point! having re-read the OP it does look like he has no or certainly hardly any vinyl.

Still it allowed me to go on a sentimental trip back to my first demo of quality gear. Vinyl can sound much nicer than digital music though or are those my rose tinted specs too?? Quest

 

Absolutely...I don't mean to put him off.  Just make sure it's a path you really want to tread and not just a whim based on old happy, substance-induced memories.

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Al ears's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

Perhaps you did frighten him off as Dionanthony has yet to reappear!

I agree though that without an ample supply of vinyl already in a collection then now might not be an ideal time to head down that route. Although more vinyl is being issued the nnew stuff is certainly pricey. Second-hand vinyl can be a tricky route as well unless you can physically view the vinyl in question. Likewise if I didn't already own a shedload of CD's then I wouldn't be setting off on that route afresh either.

If the OP is certain that is the way he wants to go then I am sure we can all assist especially if we have some idea of the budget he has in mind. ohhh sure

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Dionantony's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

cheer back online after remortgaging the house to buy a new Linn Sondek and Justin Bieber on vinyl........ha, only joking.

Interesting comments and sound advice, I thank you. However, The warnings will not be adhered to as I mentioned in my OP I am in my mid 40's and its either a Porsche, an 18 year old girlfriend or a TT and some old vinyl. Having owned a Porsche and dated my fair share of younger women, I'm sure the vinyl will be cheaper and less painful. My drug of choice these days are 100mg of losartan potassium and an occasional bottle or two of Shiraz. 

OK, I'm looking at a Rega P3, marantz pm6004 and a set of monitor audio bronze BX2, don't stop me know.  beauty, eh

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Dionantony's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

Sorry, that's a budget of £600.

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Dionantony's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

excellent! mikeparker59, you know what I'm talking about.

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Al ears's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

When discussing vinyl perhaps 'starting from scratch' may not be such a good idea. excellent!

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DIB
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RE: Starting from scratch

Dionantony wrote:

 

OK, I'm looking at a Rega P3, marantz pm6004 and a set of monitor audio bronze BX2, don't stop me know.  beauty, eh

 

Good choice with the P3. I've just bought  a totally mint P3 off another forum and I'm really pleased with it. Very simple to set-up and sounds terrific. Best of all is that I can walk around the room without the arm jumping up and down, so no need for an unsightly wallshelf.

 

.

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mikeparker59's picture
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RE: Starting from scratch

Alears wrote:

When discussing vinyl perhaps 'starting from scratch' may not be such a good idea. excellent!

 

That did go through my mind too! Smile

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Heybrook TT2 Linn Basik A&R P77 Marantz PM 6004 Marantz CD6004 Cambridge Audio NP30 Heybrook HB2's, MS Aviano 2 (alternate between these depending on how I feel!!)

A&R A60 A&R T21,Rotel CDP, Mordaunt Short Aviano 1